Saturday, October 02, 2010

Daily Reminder # 124

October 2nd is Gandhi's Birthday.  

It's also the day on which my older sister, Carole, was murdered 22 years ago.  I've tried not to make it into a day of mourning, though on some level that's what it will always be. But early on, I decided to find something "life affirming" to do in my sister's honor. This was easier in some ways when I still left the house. Still, I will find some ritual to do over the course of the day. And I will try to honor my wonderful sister here. 

It's so hard to put people into words. Carole was 10 years older than me so even though we were close, we didn't really do lots of things together until we were older. But in my profoundly dysfunctional family, she was the one who gave me the rare affirmation that I received. She was the one who encouraged me to write. She was the one who showed me the kinder side of mothering. She was my friend. When I was in college, she took me with her to Europe for 10 days. How cool is that? 

Carole had a passion for life. She did all kinds of things that I was too shy and insecure to do. She danced and she ski-ed and she went to singles clubs. She was way smarter than she got credit for. My brother was the family genius with an IQ of 162  but Carole's was 158. She was good at math like my father. She was passionate about politics.  She talked with her hands a lot - they were never still when she was talking about something that interested her. That was the strangest thing about seeing her at the wake.... her hands were still. Yet they were the thing I recognized. For my youngest niece it was different. I don't know about her other two children. We have somehow never talked about that. I never know if it's better to let the day pass without saying anything - maybe they have let it slip their minds and are having a wonderful day - so I just always drop each of them a note on October 2nd and tell them that I love them. I'm sure they haven't forgotten what day it is, but I don't want to hurt them. They have had enough hurt. They are awesome, though. Carole had the mother gene in spades. She gave her children a sense of self that has served them well. She opened them to lots of experiences... and she let them know that she loved them. 

She lives on in them. They are awesome people, each moving through life with grace and creativity, dealing with it's ups and downs with courage and strength. I don't know that I could have handled the loss they experienced at 18 or 16 or 13.  They astonished me then and they still do. 

I wish I had more photos. I wish I could convey the loving person that my sister was. All the more strange and unfair that she should have died a violent death on a rainy night in a parking lot for no reason except random violence acted out by a damaged 16 year old boy.  I miss her.  I loved her. And I think she loved me, which was pretty nice of her.

Some things I'm grateful for today:

  • the years I had with my sister
  • my sister's children
  • that her killer was caught and convicted
  • Friends
  • Therapy
  • my cats
  • Gandhi

I love this picture. 

Peace Be With  You


izzy said...

Oh my-I hesitate to intrude; yet you did share this. Once in a while I light a candle, say a prayer, paint, draw or write on behalf of those who are gone and yet not. They do want us to! go on-
go forward, grow. I love the tribute thank you.

Dianne said...

I love that last posted photo as well
so sweet
you are an extraoridinary person Raven to be so thoughtful and wise, even on a painful day

Carletta said...

A beautiful tribute Raven, absolutely beautiful.
She was a very lovely women.
I can see why you love the last picture - it is the epitome of a little girl - sweet, curly haired and full of innocence.

The Bug said...

I can see the resemblance between you - she was a beautiful woman. And WHAT a cute little girl in that last picture!

I'm so sorry you lost her.

Janie B said...

Such loving words for your sister. I know you've missed her over the years. It's good that you have such wonderful memories of her that you can share with her children. Enjoy this day basking in those memories and the love you two shared.

Argent said...

It always seems to be the best ones that get taken from us. Your tribute to your sister was very touching without being mawkish, which is not an easy feat to accomplish. I wish you peace today.

quilly said...

This is a lovely tribute to your sister Raven. I have no trouble understanding why she loved you and was proud of you. I am certain she recognized that you had like hearts.